NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – An exclusive agreement with NewBridge Pharmaceuticals will enable molecular diagnostics firm Genomic Health to expand the market for its flagship breast and colon cancer recurrence test Oncotype DX into Africa, the Middle East, and surrounding regions.
NewBridge Pharmaceuticals provides medical products for diseases that impact the Middle East, Africa, Turkey, and Caspian regions, or the so called AfMET markets. The exclusive agreement between the firms will allow NewBridge to offer Oncotype DX tests as a tool to gauge whether women are at heightened risk of breast and colon cancer recurrence. Specifically, according to a statement from the companies, NewBridge will market the test to patients with early-stage, estrogen-positive invasive breast cancer, ductal carcinoma in situ of the breast, as well as colon cancer patients with stage II and stage III disease.
According to Genomic Health, as of June 30, more than 10,000 physicians in over 65 countries have ordered more than 295,000 Oncotype DX tests for breast and colon cancer.
"Licensing Genomic Health's innovative molecular test underpins our long-term strategic mission to bridge the access gap and bring new technologies into the AfMET region to serve the unmet medical needs of our patients," Garrett Vygantas, VP of business development and licensing at NewBridge, said in a statement.
In providing access to Oncotype DX to help personalize treatment strategies for breast and colon cancer, NewBridge and Genomic Health are hoping to address two highly prevalent diseases in the AfMET regions. NewBridge estimates that breast cancer is the most common form of the disease affecting Arab women, accounting for 42 percent of all cancers. Moreover, compared to women in the US, Arab women with breast cancer tend to be nearly 10 years younger when they first get breast cancer.
Additionally, colon cancer rates are also much higher among certain Middle Eastern populations compared to US rates and past surveys suggests that genetic and environmental factors may account for this difference.
The companies noted in a statement that doctors have used traditional cancer characteristics, such as tumor size, grade, and lymph node status to assess how likely cancer is to recur. "While these characteristics are still helpful in choosing a course of treatment, the additional genomic information provided by the Oncotype DX test helps physicians and patients determine a more personalized treatment plan based on a patient's individual tumor biology," the partners said.